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On July 8 Boston City Councilor Michael Ross (D-8th District) filed a new proposal that would make real estate brokers, salespersons or property owners responsible for enforcing zoning. As drafted, #0960 “Ordinance Regulating Zoning Code Compliance” would require REALTORS® to maintain written records of every lease advertisement and lease agreement for a period of three years. The City of Boston Inspectional Services Department (ISD) would then be permitted to access and inspect these records to determine if the REALTOR® has violated the Boston Zoning Code definition of “family.” The definition of “family” which had been in place since 1991 was changed last year to exclude five or more full-time undergraduate students enrolled at a post secondary educational institution. At the time, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) opposed the change on the grounds it was fraught with legal issues and would be practically difficult for ISD to enforce.

Under the new proposal, if a REALTOR® is found in violation he or she will be punished by a $300 fine per offense and ISD will report the matter to the state Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons. Failure to provide written records to government regulators will be considered a separate offense. The legislation has been referred to The Committee on Government Operations where a public hearing on the ordinance will be scheduled. GBREB will be providing members with additional information on the bill soon.

Click here to see a copy of the proposal.
 


In his June testimony before the Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, GBAR member and former GBREB Chairman David Wluka expressed support for the approach and overarching goals behind the Green Resources for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods (GREEN) Act, H.R. 2336. Wluka is also a member of the National Association of REALTORS® Global Climate Change Presidential Advisory Group.

“REALTORS® build communities, and environmental issues related to housing and development affect our global community,” said Wluka, who spoke on behalf of NAR. “NAR is committed to efforts that advance consumer understanding of the need for energy efficiency and to reduce energy use. Toward that end, we support the proposed GREEN Act’s goals of encouraging energy efficiency and conservation in our nation’s housing stock.”

You can read more about the proposed legislation online.

On a similar note, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act by Reps. Waxman (D-CA) and Markey (D-MA). The bill, re-numbered H.R. 2998, includes NAR-supported provisions, championed by Rep. Perlmutter (D-CO), that exempt existing homes and buildings from the bill’s provisions to build upon an existing Energy Star energy labeling program. For the full story visit realtor.org.
 

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For the second year in a row, GBAR has had one of its members make REALTOR® Magazine’s 30 Under 30 List – a list of 30 rising young stars in the real estate industry. And this year Elad Bushari, ABR®, CRS® broker-owner of Bushari Real Estate Group in Boston made the cut.

As a dual Israeli-American citizen, Bushari served five years in the Israeli Defense Forces before moving to the United States from Tel Aviv. Below he tells REALTOR® Magazine some of his secrets to success.

What the army taught him about real estate: "It’s discipline. It’s planning," he says. "Even when times are very difficult, you always know that you’ve been through worse."

Take your business seriously: To succeed, you have to think as a business owner, and not as a real estate person, Bushari advises. "You’re a business owner that deals with real estate and not vice versa." Last May, Bushari started his own brokerage and his results are impressive: 27 homes sold for $22.9 million in 2008. He’s succeeding by keeping overhead low. In 10 years, most practitioners won’t need an office, he predicts.

Personal touch: Bushari and his team handwrite everything they mail to clients. "We never send anything preprinted," he says.

Congratulations Elad! Learn more: www.bushari.com

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Do you know of a colleague or a fellow REALTOR® who exemplifies the service and professionalism most REALTORS® strive for?  Then we encourage you to recognize that person by nominating him or her for one of this year’s GBAR awards, which include the REALTOR® of the Year (ROTY), the Andrew F. Hickey Distinguished Service Award (DSA) and the GBAR Good Neighbor Award.  Nominations must be submitted by July 31.  For questions contact Christina Meehan at cmeehan@gbreb.com.

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The "Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009," S. 896, became law on May 20 to protect tenants from eviction as a consequence of foreclosure by the property owner. A one-page summary of the law is available online.   

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During the past two months, NAR has heard from many REALTORS® regarding problems with appraisals that are causing deals to be delayed or canceled altogether.  NAR is working to resolve these problems quickly.

Last week NAR President Charles McMillan went to New York to meet with the Deputy Attorney General and his staff who worked directly on the Home Valuation Code of Conduct. HVCC is an agreement between Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the New York State Attorney General that went into effect earlier this year with the aim of improving the accuracy of appraisals, although it’s come under criticism in the real estate industry for causing its own problems.  Although the agreement involves the New York AG, it’s being applied nationwide to all the mortgages handled by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

McMillan shared the concerns of REALTORS® and asked for assistance in resolving any problems related to the HVCC.  McMillan also traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency to discuss ways REALTORS® can work with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and lenders to ensure that appraisals are accurate.

Additionally, U.S. Reps. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) and Gary Miller (R-Calif.) have teamed up to champion a bill that would put a moratorium on the HVCC.

The bipartisan legislation directs the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which is the conservator of the two secondary mortgage market companies, to suspend the code for 18 months.

If you’ve experienced delays or other issues due to the HVCC, email GBAR Communications Coordinator Christina Meehan at cmeehan@gbreb.com.

For further information check out these resources:
Economists Podcast
HVCC

Appraisal Blog

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